It’s naturally sweet and made of, well, fruit. That makes fruit juice seem like it’d be a no-brainer beverage for kids! But is it? When can babies have juice? Is it OK to put some in a bottle, or should you wait until your infant’s drinking out of a cup?
You may be surprised to find you should hold off longer than expected. Here’s what the experts recommend.
When Can Babies Drink Juice?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should wait to give babies juice until they’re at least one year old. There are exceptions, such as if your pediatrician recommends it for easing constipation. Likewise, the vitamin C in orange juice has potential to enhance iron absorption, so small amounts may be useful given alongside iron-rich foods. Generally speaking, however, your best bet is to skip juice entirely the first year.
The Problem with Drinking Too Much Juice
Why wait a full year to give your baby fruit juice? There are a few reasons. First, juice offers a lot of empty calories without the balanced nutrition of pureed fruits and vegetables. Second, sipping on too many sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay or even weight gain for your baby. In addition, infants who drink a lot of juice will sometimes develop diarrhea.
After the First Year, How Much Juice Is Appropriate?
Once your baby is old enough to drink juice, it’s best to limit the amount to fewer than four ounces until age 3 and fewer than six ounces until the age of 6. Be sure it’s 100% fruit juice, too. The AAP recommends these limits in order to prevent overusing the beverage and creating sugar addictions young. While your child is small, keep juice as a special treat!